French Pop Star and Global Icon, Françoise Hardy, Dead at 80

Françoise Hardy has died at the age of 80 after a battle with cancer. Her son, Thomas Dutronc, announced her death with an Instagram post, writing only, in French, “Mom is gone.” The caption accompanied a photo of Hardy with Dutronc as an infant.

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Hardy was a French singer-songwriter and fashion icon who gained a cult following through the 1960s and beyond. She was instrumental in the yé-yé musical movement of the early 60s, which was a style of pop music which drew inspiration from rock and roll, jazz, and baroque music of America and Britain. Hardy released more than 30 studio albums in her nearly 50-year career, and wrote for artists like Diane Tell, Jane Birkin, Julien Clerc, and Jean Pierre Mader.

In the 60s, Hardy became known internationally for her music through a series of albums and global appearances. Her first album, Tous les garçons et les filles, was released in 1962 and featured Hardy on most of the writing credits, setting her apart from other artists during the yé-yé movement.

During the 1970s, Hardy began to work towards artistic maturity and independence. She broke-up with her record label, Disque Vogue, and signed with Sonopresse, which allowed her to start her own production companies and work completely independently as an artist. Although this was considered a transitionary period in her career, she put out critically acclaimed compilations during this time.

[RELATED: 4 Songs Françoise Hardy Wrote for Jane Birkin and Other Artists]

French Icon Françoise Hardy Passes Away at 80 After a Long Battle with Cancer

In 2012, the 50th anniversary of her music career, she decided to retire. That year, she was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer, and although she made one last album in 2018, she then announced in 2021 that she could not sing anymore.

Largely considered a French national treasure, Françoise Hardy not only had a prolific career as a singer-songwriter, but as an actress, fashion icon, and muse as well. She once stated in 2018 that she “much preferred music to cinema,” but felt she couldn’t turn down roles from famous filmmakers. Hardy also had a career as a model, and was often photographed for Vogue. She was an “it girl,” the epitome of the “modern French woman,” and was muse to fashion designers, artists, and bands.

The Beatles, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Morrissey, Brian Jones—all were infatuated or fascinated by her and her image. She was often called the “anti-Bardot” during the 60s, referencing the overt sex-appeal of Brigitte Bardot, but why pit two queens against each other?

Françoise Hardy had a prolific career in all manner of the arts, spanning more than 50 years as a singer, actress, writer, muse, and overall icon. Not only was she a French icon, but her talent and passion for her work was also globally recognized.

Featured Image by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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